Review: Ripped Away

Ripped Away

by Shirley Reva Vernick

Regal House, 2022

Category: Middle Grade
Reviewer: Leah Cypess

It's just an ordinary day for Abe Pearlman: he's leaving school, head down, "not exactly frowning but not looking delirious with life either." He's braced for his usual daily routine, the highlight of which is being ignored by his crush. Then, on a whim, he steps into a fortune teller's shop... and next thing he knows, he is waking up in the body of a Jewish boy in Victorian London, where Jack the Ripper's victims are being left in the streets.

Thanks to the fortune teller's cryptic warning, Abe knows he has been sent to the past to save someone's life. But is it the life of one of the Ripper's victim? Or is it someone closer to home... like his neighbor, who has been arrested because of the public suspicion that Jack the Ripper is likely a Jewish shochet (ritual slaughterer)?

Abe's engaging voice, and the author's deft hand with the historical setting, combine to form a fast-paced time travel mystery.

Ripped Away illuminates a little-known and fascinating piece of Jewish history. It should be a strong contender for the Sydney Taylor Book Award.

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Reviewer Leah Cypess is the author of the SISTERS EVER AFTER series of fairy tale retellings; the next book in the series, GLASS SLIPPERS, will be published in April 2022 by Delacorte Press. Leah also writes Judaica books under the pen name "Leah Sokol." Her most recent Judaica book, YOU CHOOSE: THE SPANISH PLOT, was a PJ Our Way selection in February 2021.